More than 1,000 people marched through downtown Austin on Friday, June 25 to express their anger and sadness over the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe V. Wade and the impending, widespread erosion of abortion access as a result.
Organized coalitions like Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights and others called for protesters to gather at the federal courthouse and in the surrounding Republic Square Park on the night after the Supreme Court decision came down. Word spread rapidly via social networks and posters affixed to lampposts throughout the city.
The energy was high despite temperatures that remained over 101 degrees. The protest took to the streets after a series of speeches and chants. Closely tailed by police, activists acted as parade marshals to control rush-hour traffic as the march swelled to more than a city block in length.
State troopers shut down the Texas Capitol grounds as the group approached, forcing marchers to gather at the intersection outside the gates. At the urging of an organizer on a megaphone, they sat or squatted on the hot pavement to hold space.
Police and state troopers stopped marchers from approaching the Governor’s Mansion, sending them streaming past it instead, eventually looping around south to return to their starting point in Republic Square Park.
While numbers dwindled quickly, a second march began from the park soon after. Police made at least one arrest, according to eyewitness reports and tweets. Austin Police Department officials did not respond to a request for comment. [Update 6/28/2022: An Austin Police Department spokesperson confirmed there were two arrests at Friday’s protest, with an additional three arrests at a similar protest on Sunday, June 26.]
As the park emptied, some marchers left their signs behind as a final message.
One demonstrator left a more lasting impression on the courthouse.